The learning and skills sector continues to face new reforms, reviews and restructuring. For learning and skills organisations, this brings challenges as well as opportunities.
Six months on from our first confidence index, SDN conducted a second snapshot ‘confidence index’ survey to benchmark the current level of confidence of learning and skills organisations and the key factors that will contribute to their future success.
This is what they told us:
- Overall, respondents were marginally confident about the future. Compared with six months ago, confidence has slightly increased over a one-year time horizon
- FE colleges remain more optimistic about their future than independent training providers
- Compared with six months ago, there has been a drop in confidence among senior managers, reflecting the current turmoil of non-levy procurement and employer reactions to 20% off-the-job requirements
- In contrast, the confidence of front-line staff in their organisation’s future success has increased, as their understanding of the new standards and their future role becomes clearer
- The top factors affecting respondents align with the above – changes to funding policy and systems, reforms to apprenticeships, employer engagement, and Ofsted’s future approach to inspection. Broader policy changes remain a lower priority, including the technical reforms, devolution, area reviews and Brexit
Providers expected their confidence to accelerate if there was:
- Stability and clarity of funding policy, particularly around non-levy procurement. Providers need time to implement new policies – also providing the ESFA with time for a more considered implementation of new systems and processes
- Greater flexibility around 20% off-the-job requirements – current arrangements are putting some employers off from engaging in apprenticeships, particularly SMEs
- Clarity around what end-point assessments will look like in practice, with a greater number of End-Point Assessment Organisations in place, ready to offer their services
- Employer ability to fully utilise their levy funds as part of their recruitment and L&D strategy, alongside continued SME engagement in apprenticeships
- Improved careers advice in schools and a greater breadth of entry-level standards for 16-18-year-olds to encourage social mobility
Download the full summary of findings here: Learning and Skills Confidence Index (Nov17) – Summary of Findings v2-0
Enquiries about the research can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org